Making Our Composing Process More Visible

I just finished reading Chapter 2 of Jody Shipka’s Toward a Composition Made Whole. In this chapter, titled “Partners in Action,” Shipka discusses how people have begun to take their thinking and composing processes for granted due to the useful tools that we call “technology.” She refers to tools we use, such as the telephone, and how we tend to forget all of the processes that go into making a phone call and being able to communicate with people. Her general point is that we need to go back to basics and think about everything that goes into completing tasks. For example, when working on a project, we should consider how we came up with our ideas and shaped them into a complete composition, such as sketching out ideas, brainstorming on paper, writing concrete rough drafts, reading aloud, peer editing, and much more. If we lose sight of these things, we start to only see the final product, but this may not even begin to represent everything that went into a work.

I think that in order to make our composing process more visible, we need to keep track of the original ideas that go into our final product. We should not forget all of the tools that we have used. We also need to consider how these “technologies” have shaped our works, whether for better or worse. The point that “We tend to move from ‘looking at the technology as an addition to life to looking at life through that technology’” is quite accurate. We forget that we are even using technology at all. Maybe then, it is important for us to keep a journal as Catherine Latterell suggests. This will remind us of how often we use these tools to shape our compositions, and that way, we will make visible the entire process that went into it. For example, I could account for all of the tools I used to write this post. I began with the physical book, I took notes on a piece of paper using a pen, and I used my laptop to pull up a word document to write a draft. All of these tools shaped my process.

Shipka’s ideas are extremely representative of how composing has become. We need to take a step back sometimes and look at everything that affects our thinking process. We should especially take into consideration which technologies are changing our lives in general.

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